Health Topics: /Malaria

Malaria is a disease having symptoms of recurrent fever with chill and headache. After onset of fever it subsides after sometimes and again reoccurs. In severe cases it can progress to coma or even death. It is caused by parasites known as Plasmodium. It commences with the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes which carries this parasite.

The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions around the equator, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. In India the disease occurs throughout the year across the country. However, it is more prevalent during and after the rainy season due to mosquito breeding.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), India contributes 77% of the total malaria cases in Southeast Asia. The disease is mainly prevalent in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa, Southern Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and in northeastern states.

Symptoms of malaria can develop in seven days after the bite from the infected mosquito. Typical symptoms include:

  • Fever, headache, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms, (The fever occurs in four-to-eight hour cycles.) 
  • The parasite infects and destroys red blood cells resulting in fatigue, fits/convulsions and loss of consciousness.

If the symptoms of malaria are not identified on time, the result can be fatal.


Prevention of malaria solely depends upon the prevention from mosquitoes bite. The following are the effective preventive measures:

(A) Control Insect Breeding (Larval and Pupa Stage)

  • All breeding places should be filled and covered. 
  •  Avoid storage of water in tyres, pots, coolers and tanks. Regular cleaning (weekly) of such articles is important to prevent mosquito breeding.  
  • Use of larvivorous fish like gambusia or guppy in ornamental tanks, fountains and other places.
  • Use of chemical pesticides like Abate in potable water.

(B) Individual Preventions

  • Use an intact mosquito net while sleeping.
  • Use mosquito repellent creams, liquids, coils and mats. 
  • Use Indoor Residual Spray (IRS) with insecticides. 
  • Use Aerosol space spray during day time.
  • Use biocides.
  • Get houses fitted with wire mesh.
  • Use bed nets treated with insecticide
  • Cover your body properly.

 (C) Prevention in Community 

  • Malathion fogging during outbreaks.
  • The place around the Hand Pump should be properly cemented, along with drainage system.
  • Sensitizing and mobilizing the community to eradicate Anopheles breeding sites.

(D) Prevention during Travel

  • Before planning your travel, find out the malaria risk in that area and take the advice from doctor before visiting that area.

 (E) Prevention of Malaria during Pregnancy

  • Use of treated nets/LLINs (Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets).
  • Take all personal preventive measures as mentioned above.
Video Gallery on How to Prevent Malaria: 

Malaria can be diagnosed by the doctor based on the patient’s history (fever with chill and rigor) followed by the clinical assessment (enlargement of liver and spleen).

Microscopic examination:

The most preferred and reliable diagnosis of malaria is microscopic examination of blood films as all of the four major parasite species can be distinguished easily.

Immuno chromatographic test:

This is also called as Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test. This test uses finger-stick and a drop of venous blood. The reading can be assessed visually as the presence of colored strips on the dipstick. It takes a total of 15–20 minutes to complete the procedure.

Molecular methods:

Molecular methods are available such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR). It is more accurate than microscopy.


The treatment chosen will depend upon whether the patient has vivax malaria or falciparum malaria as diagnosed by the blood test, age of the patient, the pregnancy status of the female patient and location of the patient.

For further details on schedule of treatment and follow up :


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